Friday, February 8, 2008

UPDATE - Official Bedard Trade

When news first broke of the Bedard to the Mariners trade I posted my reaction to the trade involving Bedard for Jones, Sherrill and Tillman. The trade has been finally finalized with two more prospects being added, which, in my opinion, greatly shifts the trade in favor of the Orioles. Given the philosophy that with more prospects, there is a greater chance at having one pan out to be a quality major leaguer. That said, it appears as if the Mariners still paid less for two years of Bedard's services then the Mets paid for a year and the negotiating rights of Johan Santana.

Without repeating what I said about Jones, Sherrill and Tillman, I will simply look at the new players the Orioles managed to pull out from the Mariners in the second step of the teams total rebuild.

First of all, the Orioles just received two giant pitchers. One being 6'9" the other being 6'7". While it is doubtful either will make it into the rotation by the time Daniel Cabrera's (6'7") tenure as an O expires, it is quite possible this would be the tallest starting 4 in history-although I don't have anything to back this claim, its simply an assumption.

Kam Mickolio has been converted to reliever since being drafted his second time around in 2006 by the Mariners. Since this time, he has handled his accelerated promotion with ease averaging just under a strikeout per inning even increasing this total along with his promotions.

The move to the bullpen was obviously the smartest move, as Mickolio went from being a terrible starting pitcher in college (3.05, 7.49, 7.98 and 5.30 ERA in 4 seasons). That said, Baseball America writes that Mickolio is an "intriguing arm from the 2006 draft."

First Inning rates Mickolio as a major league ready reliever giving him a 3 out of 5 in strikeouts, control and ground ball percentage.

The second monster the Orioles received is Anthony Butler, the 20-year old 3rd round draft pick. The huge lefty has had moderate success to this point in his professional baseball career, although has been extremely wild, posting a walk per nine innings of 5.10. The MLB average sits under 3.5 so Anthony (also known as Tony) will have to greatly cut back his walks in order to become a quality major leaguer.

Entering the 2007 season, Butler ranked as Baseball Prospectus' #9 left handed minor league starter and as a good prospect. Another report in 2007 calls Butler a "high ceiling" pitcher. Given his size and strikeout rate, it is no wonder experts are excited over the potential that looms.

Over at Seattle PI, Jason Churchill had the following to say after Butler was drafted in the third round,
Butler may be the steal of the entire draft, provided the 6-foot-7 left-hander can harness his stuff on his way up the ladder. He has a fastball that already reaches 93 mph, an above average curveball and a serviceable change-up. If two of his offerings are working, he's a tough customer, but his control is inconsistent. Most scouts see Butler as a No. 2 or No. 3 starter, or a power setup man in the mold of Arthur Rhodes.

Overall, I believe the Orioles made out well in this deal. The club is obviously in a full rebuild mold, understanding that with the current Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays clubs, the team will have little ability to compete in the short term. However, with a strong showing in the 2007 draft and the stock piling of high upside low level minor leaguers, the Orioles appear on a path to creating a solid core for 2010-11.

The Mariners did well to hold on to most of their top prospects, not having to surrender 4 of their top 6 in the way the Mets did. The rotation is now set with two legitimate aces in Bedard and Hernandez, along with Silva, Batista and Washburn. With that rotation and the uncompetitive Rangers and Athletics, the Mariners have put themselves in position to push the Angels for the AL West crown. Look for the Mariners to make a serious push to the playoffs and be very active come the non-waiver trade deadline.

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